I hear this a lot in my field, obviously, and I’d like to address it.
It can be condescending: ‘why are you going out of your way for that?’ It can be well meaning ‘you’re not missing out on much’.
‘It’s just a cake’
But it isn’t though, is it?
And honestly, it’s hard not to feel that twinge of bitterness when it comes from someone with no major dietary restrictions they didn’t choose. Someone who has never had to watch a plate of special treats get passed around an office or gathering while you check your handbag for a granola bar you may have stored away earlier.
Ultimately you could say ‘it’s just X’ about any food. But food goes beyond sustenance. It is such a deeply social thing. We gather around the table, we pass recipes down generations like treasures, our culture is expressed through dishes. Celebrations and holidays can see us spending the entire day (or longer) cooking in preparation! That’s not just food.
A cake is a centrepiece of your celebration. It’s what people eye up, coo over and ask ‘where did you get it?’ It’s the part people eagerly wait for to be cut up and passed around. As children, the cake is the big reveal! It’s what goes with the ‘happy birthday’ song and candles! Even if we let go of whistles and bouncy castles as we get older, the cake still holds centre stage.
Cake is about celebration and sharing. Cake is about joy.
You can get used to passing up on treats and saying ‘no’ on a day to day basis. But why should you when it’s a special occasion? Especially when it’s a birthday or an event that literally celebrates YOU.
Maybe you like your cakes on the lighter side and supermarket cakes have always been too sweet. Maybe you love a particular flavour that you can never find in shops. Maybe you want beautiful cakes that send a particular message for your celebration. That’s all ok - want what you want! The day is for you and this is exactly what bakers like me are here for. Creating something that can bring a whole room of people joy brings me joy!
You can pass up on treats. But why should you?
You can have it all. So why don’t you?